Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Commodore Arent S. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long

March 11, 1898.

Memorandum for the Secretary of the Navy.

     The following dispatch has just been received from the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Naval Force on the Asiatic Station:

For squadron to operate in Philippine Islands, it is desirable that ammunition and coal should be sent from San Francisco immediately. Other Government has bought all good coal.1

(Sig) DEWEY2

     In view of the foregoing message, immediate steps should be taken to send the Commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Station a full supply of coal.

     I understand from the Chief of the Bureau of Equipment3 that there is no good coal available on our Pacific Coast that could be dispatched to China. I therefore think it would be good policy to charter immediately a large steamer in England, capable of carrying 5000 tons, have it loaded with coal in England, and send it at once to Hong Kong, or such other port as Commodore Dewey might designate.4 I do not think the Government would lose any money by such a transaction, even if it should be found, upon the arrival of the steamer in China, that our squadron did not need the coal, as there is always a demand in China for good coal, and any surplus that was not used by our ships could be readily disposed of in open market. I cannot too strongly urge upon the Department that this step be taken without further delay.

A.S. Crowninshield

Chief of Bureau

Source Note: CyS, DNA, AFNRC, M625, roll 362. Document reference: “EC.”

Footnote 2: Commo. George Dewey, Commander, Asiatic Station.

Footnote 3: Commo. Royal B. Bradford.

Footnote 4: Dewey purchased the British collier Nanshan on 6 April with its supply of coal. See: Dewey to Long, 18 April 1898. 

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